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EIGHT FELONY COUNTS FOR COPPER THEFT

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Monday, May 16, 2011 —A west suburban man has been indicted on eight felony counts in connection with the theft of copper over a period of three months, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Monday. 

Paul BridwellPaul Bridwell, 30, of the 0 – 100 block of Iron Wood Drive in Justice has been indicted on one felony count of theft over $500 and seven felony counts of criminal damage to property.  His bond was set at $20,000 on May 5th.

Cook County Sheriff’s Police Detectives began investigating Bridwell in late March, after a resident reported damage to their property at a lot in the Sterling Estates Trailer Park located on the 9300 block of W. 79th Street in Justice.  After canvassing the area, collecting evidence and conducting witness interviews, investigators were able to identify Bridwell, who is also a resident of Sterling Estates, as the perpetrator.  Detectives also learned Bridwell had two outstanding warrants for similar crimes in Dupage County and in Hodgkins, Illinois.  Based on the evidence in Sterling Estates, Bridwell was arrested March 22nd and charged with one misdemeanor count of theft under $500, but the investigation into his crimes continued.

Detectives soon identified another seven lots in Sterling Estates where Bridwell had stripped copper wire.  Between December 2010 and March 2011, Bridwell stole several hundred feet of copper, destroying utility lines outside the homes that connect gas and electricity in order to access the wire inside.  The property damage is estimated at more than $10,000.  The value of the copper stolen is approximately $3,500.  As a result of the additional evidence against him, Bridwell was indicted by a grand jury on May 13th.  

Paul Bridwell’s next court date is June 10th in Bridgeview.

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